Is this any way to appoint an inspector general?

Mystery appointment of Sean Connelly disclosed minutes before City Council votes

Maybe the first assignment for Joliet’s new inspector general should be to investigate the process by which he got the job.

It was an awkward process, to say the least, and a heck of a way to hire a person whose job mainly is to ensure that City Hall is operating properly.

City officials never mentioned Sean Connelly’s name publicly until it was time for the City Council to vote to appoint him, which it did, 7-1, Tuesday without knowing the terms under which he would be hired.

The city will contract with Connelly, a private attorney with an office in Westmont, to provide inspector general services.

How much will he be paid?

Who knows?

Unlike other items on the City Council agenda, there was no accompanying information for the item that read “Inspector General Appointment” to describe who was being appointed and the terms under which he would be appointed.

Connelly’s name was leaked out in the days ahead of the vote. But why the secrecy?

“Are we going to have any information about him?” Council member Pat Mudron, the lone vote against the appointment, asked at Tuesday’s meeting.

Council member Sherri Reardon asked if there was a copy of the agreement under which Connelly would be hired and was told that no agreement has been made.

Presumably, some contract will be drawn up eventually.

But who knows?

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, who appoints the inspector general with council approval, asked Mudron and Reardon why they were raising the questions at the meeting.

“Why did you wait until tonight to bring it up?” O’Dekirk asked, asking that council members could have called him with questions before the meeting.

That’s true.

Then, maybe they could have approved Sean Connelly without any public discussion about who he is and the terms under which he will be hired.

But what about the public upon whose behalf the inspector general is supposed to be working?

Shouldn’t the public have a chance to see who is going to be appointed inspector general before the council votes?

Mayoral appointments typically are treated with great deference to the extent that it’s usually a bit of a mystery on who just got appointed, even after the council approves them.

But is this any way to appoint an inspector general?

Connolly knew he was going to be appointed.

The next morning, the city put out a news release announcing his appointment, in which Connolly was quoted thanking the mayor and city manager “for the trust and confidence they have put in me as inspector general. Service to country and community is very important to me and I look forward to serving the people of the great city of Joliet in an independent, honest, and diligent manner.”

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News